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Michael Erb
United States
West Virginia
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Fun, insanity combine in party game ‘Quelf’

Staff Writer
The Parkersburg News and Sentinel

PARKERSBURG — All is not right in the land of Quelf, but then again, it never was.

‘‘Quelf,’’ a party game for 3-8 players, is produced by Wiggity Bang Games, which is run by three guys named Robb, Jeremy and Matthew who live in California. These three guys were kind enough to send me a review copy of Quelf, and if I ever get the chance to meet any of them, I will be sure and take my revenge.

Quelf, simply put, is insane. But it’s a good kind of insane, like a Saturday morning cartoon let loose in your living room.

You play as one of eight characters, all lovably bizarre and certifiably nuts, with names like ‘‘Super Ninja Monkey’’ (you can tell she’s a girl by the pink bow on her head), ‘‘Mr. Lugnut’’ (whose head is... well, a lugnut) and ‘‘The Biscuit Farmer’’ (who farms ... well, you get the idea).

All the characters move around the land of Quelf, which is in effect a series of colored squares arranged in a spiral on the gameboard. You take turns rolling a six-sided die and moving your character forward that number of spaces and deeper into the spiral. Whatever color you land on, you draw a correspondingly colored card.

Quelf is a party game, and like most party games it is designed to be more social than competitive. The various cards used in Quelf are more likely to affect the players themselves than the pieces on the board. For example, the game uses three different kinds of Roolz cards (spelling isn’t that important in the land of Quelf): Global Roolz, which affect everyone and stay in play throughout the game; Talking Roolz, which affect the person who drew the card; and Action Roolz, which again only affect the person that drew the card.

Talking Roolz often affect how the person talks, while Action Roolz force the person to do something, usually embarrassing or crazy. For example, a player may have to adopt a foreign accent, or they may have to do something strange, like chew on a fork and make goat sounds anytime another player draws a card. That last one actually happened in our playtest of the game, and it was pretty funny.

Players failing to follow the roolz are penalized, forced to move their character back a number of spaces specified on each card. Some cards also are timed using a small sand timer included in the game, and players failing to complete their task before the sand runs out also are penalized.

Other cards include Stuntz, which are more physical challenges; Showbiz cards, which require you to show off your acting/singing/dancing skills, or lack thereof; Quizzles, which are like bizarre trivia cards; and Scatterbrainz, which are group challenges, usually involving shouting out lists of rhyming words or kinds of flowers. Again, in our game it actually happened.

Each card also has a ‘‘Quelf Effect’’ at the bottom, a box of additional text that can be anything from a clever quote from one of Quelf’s denizens to an added in-game effect. During one part of the game, I noticed a player had left a previously-played card face down in front of them. When I reached out and flipped the card, the Quelf Effect came into play, giving my character an extra two spaces of movement. The effect could just as easily have been a penalty for the person bold enough to peek, or it could have benefited the player who originally held the card.

The character you pick actually can influence game play when certain cards are drawn, but the card effects are so random it is hard to see the advantage, or disadvantage, to playing any one person. One player had to lick the elbow of another player in order to avoid the penalty. After she did (brave soul that she was) she discovered the Quelf Effect would have given her a bonus had she picked someone playing ‘‘Queen Spatula.’’

But winning really is secondary to playing, which is another hallmark of the party game. The entire point of Quelf is for everyone to have fun, and to enjoy the fun everyone else is having at the table.

During a New Year’s Eve party, myself, my wife and several friends played the game, or rather let the game play us. From the beginning, one player was forced to recite lines backwards while holding her wrists to her head. Another jotted down a new four-letter word each round, such as ‘‘milk,’’ and penalized any player who accidentally used the forbidden word. Any players whose characters occupied the same space on the gameboard had to hold hands, which, with six people sitting at a fairly long table, made for some awkward dice-rolling. I had to make flushing noises anytime another player faced a penalty, all while wearing one of my wife’s socks on my right hand.

All in all, it was a great night.

I would definitely recommend Quelf for anyone looking for a fun party game that can be played with friends or family. Check it out at

Contact Michael Erb at

Edit: A review copy of the game was provided for this article.
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